Friday, August 31, 2012

Traveling With Kids

We just got back from a long weekend holiday here in Vietnam. Last Monday, Vietnam celebrated their Independence Day and hubby decided we should get away for a couple of days to Hanoi's sister city, Ho Chi Minh.

We left Hanoi last Saturday and we had a great time. Even hubby who hasn't done the "touristy" stuff in Vietnam, (he's been here for 2.5years!) enjoyed seeing the sights in Ho Chi Minh City. Unfortunately though, the kids and hubby got some virus and now have the sniffles.

Traveling with kids, especially little ones is not easy. Let me share some tips I gathered from our own experience:

Before The Trip

You must create a packing list, to make sure you don't forget anything essential. Leave out stuff you can buy at your destination. Remember that traveling light is best when you have kids in tow.

Let me share a sample list for our weekend getaway (for babies and kids):
  • Coloring books
  • New toys and games
  • Rain coats and umbrella
  • Ziploc or small plastic bags
  • No-spill cups
  • Plates and spoons (silicone or plastic)
  • Swimsuit
  • Jackets and Sweater
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Insect repellant
  • First-Aid kit
  • Blankets and small pillows
  • Bathing supplies
  • Snacks
  • Sterilizer
  • Diaper bag with all the essentials
  • Collapsible stroller
  • Child carrier or sling
  • Clothes - bring at least one per day plus 2 extra shirts/tops

Prepare your kids. Let them know when and where you're going. Get them involved by letting them pack their own bags with some toys and snacks. Tell them what's gonna happen once you arrive at the airport until you board the plane and arrive at your destination. Including them keeps them from getting bored and from asking, "are we there yet?" all the time.

During The Trip

On Sightseeing

Be realistic on what you can actually cover each day. Keep in mind that kids need time to recharge, which means taking a rest at some point during the day. When I plan our itinerary, I only choose a few things to do each day. We either start early so we can go back to the hotel or apartment early, or start late, so the kids don't feel rush to do things early in the day. Another thing we do is we go out after breakfast, return mid-day and then go out again late afternoon. Take your cue from the kids - when they start getting cranky, it's a sure sign to stop the sightseeing and let your kids have a good rest. This is will make for an enjoyable and (almost) stress-free holiday!

On Shopping

Whenever we travel, we have a set budget for each person in the family. Having this will keep everyone from going overboard with shopping (including Mummy!). We even have a budget for how much we will spend for souvenirs. Since we go to several places for each trip, we opt to buy magnets and postcards, and some printed artwork to take home. These are easy to pack and are less expensive than most items in the souvenir shop.

If your kids want to buy a toy or shirt, remind them of how much they can spend and if they don't mind using up their entire "souvenir allowance" for a specific item, then let them get what they want. This will teach them about self-control and how to budget money.

On Accommodation

When choosing where to stay, think about everyone's comfort. Find out if the hotel or apartment has a family room. If not,  request for connecting rooms or ask for additional beds and if there are any extra charges. Do not assume that the hotel will arrange extra beds for you, you have to request for it, same with baby cots. We usually choose a serviced apartment with full kitchen. This is essential for those who have babies and toddlers, as you will be needing a proper sink to clean your children's things. Another extra is having a washer, so you don't need to send all your laundry to the laundromat or the hotel laundry service, which is expensive.

Once you arrive at the hotel, you might want to check the doors and windows, if they are secure. Check for loose cables and try to baby-proof your room by using tapes (to cover sockets) and pipe cleaners (to tie cables together).

Traveling with kids need not be a hassle. If you organize everything, things will turn out well and next thing you know, you'll be traveling like a pro.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life Lately: Toys

(1) Munching on Sophie the Giraffe
(2) Megasketcher and Minisketcher  =)
(3) Sharing Toys
(4) Angry Birds headcount

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Our helper arrived the other day with one irritated eye...

Rhys: Are you angry?
Helper: No
Rhys: Are you happy?
Helper: Yes
Rhys: Why are you happy and angry?
Helper: I'm not angry...
Rhys: Yes, you are! Look, your eye is red and the other is not. See?? You're angry AND happy!


New Look!

Did anyone notice I updated my blog? Not the posts, but the overall look of it!

I finally have a blog header again and even put up the kids' photos on it. Rhys aka Cheeky Boy chose his photo, wearing a prop afro wig and giant glasses! Now you know why I called him Cheeky Boy in the first place. He also chose the monster stickers underneath his photo and he decided his sister cannot choose yet, so he chose hers as well.

As for Elyse aka Baby Girl, I chose a photo from my sister's wedding. Doesn't she look adorable? I know I'm a bit biased, but admit it, she does look cute. We actually wore matching gowns that day! Guess whose idea was it?

Anyway, back to my blog, I might change the photos again when Elyse turns one next year. So that's it, hope you like the new look.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Reusable Bags

I love bags, in different forms, and this includes reusable bags. My favorite would be the Envirosax bags, which I have a lot of and I wrote about it in my other blog. I use it for everything - when going to the supermarket, an extra baby bag, for mall shopping, spare travel bag and I have one I leave in the car.

See my collection below:

Then I saw these Envirosax Exclusive Collection of Sesame Street bags and I want it!

First Collection

New Collection

Isn't it cute? I like the new collection more, my faves being Oscar and Zoe. One piece retails for US$9.95 and the 5-pc set is $39.95. 

Here are just some of the celebrity mummies who have been seen toting an Envirosax bag:

Envirosax bags are chic, lightweight, portable & waterproof and each one holds the equivalent of two supermarket plastic bags thanks to reinforced seams.

Carry an Envirosax wherever you go and make a positive contribution to the environment we all share!

Some photos and information from Envirosax

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WW: Budding Artists

Bumbo Seats Recall

As a mummy, I am always checking which products are best for my kids. I check product and toy reviews online and ask fellow mums for any recommendations. When we were shopping for BG's nursery items, my husband and I saw the Bumbo. We didn't buy it straight away coz I wanted to check if it's Mum-approved and I found out it was OK. I'm a stay-at-home mum and products like Bumbo is a godsend coz I can still do things around the house while looking after the baby. So we went and bought the Bumbo seat and here is BG in it:
      Here is a full article about the product recall, from
The CPSC in conjuction with Bumbo International Trust of South Africa (Bumbo International) announced today a voluntary recall that affects nearly 4 million seats sold in the US between August 2003 and August 2012.
You may remember that a voluntary recall of Bumbo Seats was issued in 2007, when injuries were occurring as a result of seats being used on elevated surfaces. In response, warning stickers were placed on the front of Bumbo Seats warning parents that seats were intended to be used on the floor.

But despite the 2007 recall, injuries are still occurring. The CPSC report says:
CPSC and Bumbo International know of at least 50 incidents after the October 2007 voluntary recall in which babies fell from a Bumbo seat while it was being used on a raised surface. Nineteen of those incidents included reports of skull fractures. CPSC and Bumbo International are aware of an additional 34 post-recall reports of infants who fell out or maneuvered out of a Bumbo seat used on the floor or at an unknown elevation, resulting in injury. Two of these incidents involved reports of skull fractures, while others reported bumps, bruises and other minor injuries.
The solution? Bumbo International is issuing new warning labels and a repair kit to consumers that includes a harness to help secure babies in the seat.
screenshot 138 e1345059545718 4 million Bumbo seats recalled
What should you do if you have a Bumbo Seat?
“Consumers should immediately stop using the product until they order and install a free repair kit, which includes: a restraint belt with a warning label, installation instructions, safe use instructions and a new warning sticker. The belt should always be used when a child is placed in the seat. Even with the belt, the seat should never be used on any raised surface. Consumers should also immediately stop using Bumbo seat covers that interfere with the installation and use of the belt. A video demonstrating proper installation of the restraint belt and proper use of the Bumbo seat are available at".
If you are a US resident, and have determined that you have one of the affected seats, please stop using the seat immediately, and complete the Repair Kit order form by going to For residents of Canada, please visit, email or call 1-866-477-5144 toll-free. For residents outside the US and Canada, please email

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Name Game

People often ask me where and how I got my children's name. I wanted a name that I hope my kids would not hate when they're all grown up. Or something that wouldn't be used to tease them in school. I also wanted a name that is short and no 2nd or 3rd names. I had a couple of names in my short list. And I ended up with what I think is a good name for my 2 kids.

CB's name is of Welsh origin and means Ardour or Enthusiasm, which I think suits his personality well. As for BG, her name is of Hebrew origin which means God's Promise. I thought it's an appropriate name as we waited 4 years to have another child and God answered our prayer to have a girl this time.

Choosing a name for your child is something parents need to discuss thoroughly. Some would say, it's just a name. Sure it is, but sometimes a name can mean so much more.

Here are a couple of names I found while browsing online, which are quite odd...

Source: Oddee

I bet he gets a kick out of saying his name everytime...
"Bond... James Bond"

The parents of this guy must have been having a laugh when they thought of his first name and decided to stick with it

I'm not surprised there's a Filipino named after Batman's arch enemy. After all, unique names are quite common in The Philippines.

I feel bad for this kid... I wonder why his parents thought Voldemort is a better choice than Harry ?

And speaking of Harry...

Just like Joker Arroyo who has a brother named Jack (get it?), unusual names is very common in The Philippines. Parents get quite creative when naming their children. I mean, who wants a common name, right? Here are just a few:

One-syllable names:
  • Bing, Boy, Girlie, Ping, Babes
Repeating names:
  • Lenlen, Maimai, Ningning, Bokbok, Noynoy
Names with "H":
  • Jhun, Bhong, Lhen, Dhang, Mhar
Dessert/Fruit names:
  • Cherry Pie, Honey Pie, Apple, Orange, Peachy
Combination names:
  • Jejomar (Jesus, Joseph and Mary)
  • Luzviminda (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao aka Philippine Islands)
Full names:
  • Edgar Allan Pe
  • Kim Arthur
  • Chica Go
  • Mary Christmas Aguinaldo (gift)
  • Magic Chiongson
Whatever your name is, embrace it or change it, as needed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

WW: Truck in the Forest

My son placed his truck in her sister's forest wall decor. The animals look confused, probably wondering why there's a truck in their forest  =)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lovely Seven

Our Baby Girl is now 7 months old.
You bring sunshine to our lives with that beautiful smile!
We love you!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WW: Life Lately

(1) BG as Wonder Woman (2) Giggles on the bed 
(3) The kids watching Baby TV (4) CB has "Flash" on his booboo

Monday, August 6, 2012

Living Overseas With Kids - Vaccination

As a family who gets to live overseas, we make sure we get information which vaccines our kids will need before traveling to and settling in another country. Your kids' pediatrician or healthcare provider will determine what you will need, depending on different factors.

Aside from Routine Vaccines that your kids get, you may also need to have the ff:
  • Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Rabies
Malaria is a disease that is common in rural areas of Vietnam. If you are traveling to areas with malaria cases, consult your local doctor ways to avoid getting sick with Malaria. Some of the ways to prevent are the ff:
  • Take a prescription of anti-malarial drug.
  • Use insect-repellant and wear long sleeves top and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Staying in an air-conditioned room or screened rooms or using mosquito bed nets.
To get more information, contact your family doctor, healthcare provider or International SOS (found in most countries).

        Always remember, prevention is better than cure!

Photo: Google